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Grandview Council approves $3.6 million general fund budget

GRANDVIEW - Monday night, the Grandview City Council unanimously voted to adopt the 2005 city budget, which is just over $3.6 million.

The budget, although healthier than that of many communities in the area, will still eat away at the city's reserve funds. Following the end of the 2005 budget year, Grandview expects to spend $162,585 more that its anticipated revenues.

Grandview City Treasurer John Myers noted that the city's ending fund balance in 2005 is expected to come in at $537,415, which is markedly less that the $700,000 ending funding balance in 2004.

Myers pointed to the distribution center as one of the reasons Grandview isn't further in the hole in 2005. He said in 2004 the center brought in an estimated $300,000 in unanticipated sales and use taxes.

"If we hadn't had that we'd be looking at $400,000, [instead of $162,585]," Myers said.

Myers hopes the distribution center will continue to bring more growth to the community, which will ultimately help keep Grandview moving forward without significant budget cuts. He noted that over the past few years the community has seen a lot of growth, including residential growth and annexations.

Although the city's 2005 budget means Grandview will be spending more than it is expecting to bring in, there are no significant cuts being made. Instead, all of the departments will continue to operate at levels similar to what has been seen over the past few years, with most budget increases being accounted for through the increasing costs of medical benefits and salaries.

Monday night, council members voted to approve a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for all non-union city employees. City Clerk Anita Palacios explained that the increase mirrors that being included in the salaries of the city's union employees in 2005.

"So everyone is on an even keel," noted Councilman Norm Childress.

The total cost of salaries and wages in the current expense fund is expected to be just more than $2 million, with benefits totaling $796,870.

However, salary increases and the increased cost of medical benefits isn't the only thing included in the 2005 budget. The city is planning on moving forward with a laundry list of capital expenditures. The city put $100,000 aside to take the first steps necessary to install an automated meter reading system for the water and sewer department. The system is expected to cost a total of $500,000. City officials plan on putting aside $100,000 a year for the next five years to pay for the system.

Also included in the city's 2005 budget is more than $400,000 to pay for the signalization of the intersections at Wine Country Road and Grandridge Road, and Wine Country Road and Elm Street. The two projects, although budgeted for in 2005, will be paid for mostly through funds from the Transportation Improvement Board.

Another large project city officials included in its 2005 budget is a combined $890,000 for improvements being made to three city wells. The wells included in the project are the Balcome and Moe well, as well as the Velma and Orchard Tracts wells. The funding for the three well projects is coming from a loan through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Several other capital expenditures detailed in the 2005 budget include $100,000 for a 10-yard dump truck for the wastewater treatment plant, $130,000 for the replacement of a 1991 garbage compactor, $17,010 for books and other media for Bleyhl Community Library, $5,000 for the playground project at Dykstra Park and $10,000 for the continued development of the local cemetery.

Although the 2005 budget has been approved by Council, the local legislative body will still have a few issues to look at early next year. Among those is the recently approved criminal justice tax, which increases the sales tax in Yakima County by three-tenths of 1 percent. Council will revisit how the additional revenue will be spent once the tax starts being collected early next spring. The city will likely not receive its first funding payment from the voter passed proposition until July 2005.

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